|Name:||William Joor Morgan|
|Unit:||MACV, Artillery Division|
|Date of Birth:||11 February 1938|
|Home of Record:||Baton Rouge, LA|
|Date of Loss:||25 February 1972|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam/Over Water|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Killed/Body Not Recovered|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: By early 1967,
the Bell UH1 Iroquois was already the standard Army assault helicopter, and
was used in nearly every "in-country" mission. Better known by its nickname
"Huey," the troop carriers were referred to as "Slicks" and the gunships
were called "Hogs." It proved itself to be a sturdy, versatile aircraft which
was called on to carry out a wide variety of missions including search and
rescue, close air support, insertion and extraction, fire support, and resupply
to name a few. It usually carried a crew of four.
On 25 February 1972, Major William J. Morgan was an advisor to a Republic of Korea (ROK) Commander. Major Morgan and others traveled by helicopter to the USS Craig that was anchored within 2 miles of land in DaNang Harbor. He was part of a team attending a coordinating briefing for an upcoming combined operation. After the briefing, the visitors, including Major Morgan, departed the Navy ship.
As the UH1H helicopter (tail #69-15391) lifted off the ship's helipad, which was located on the fantail, the aircraft's main rotor blade struck a pole throwing the Huey over the railing and into the water. Search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated including attempts to right the Huey. However, those attempts proved unsuccessful. The Huey's crew of four, along with 2 or 3 of the passengers, managed to escape the foundering aircraft before it sunk into the harbor. At the time of loss William Morgan was listed Missing in Action.
In addition to searching the harbor's floor for the location of the Huey, air sea operations searched the harbor and out to sea for Major Morgan while air and ground efforts searched the shoreline. On 17 March, nearly 3 weeks after the mishap, the Huey was recovered by US Navy salvage divers. The hulk was thoroughly examined, but no trace of William Morgan was found in it. The military surmised his body drifted from the aircraft and was swept either out to sea or onto the beaches of nearby Mui DaNang Island. A further search of the main harbor was not feasible. At the time the formal search as terminated, William Morgan status was immediately changed to Killed/Body Not Recovered.
DaNang Harbor was a heavily traveled waterway by military ships and civilian boats of all sizes and types. The Viet Cong frequently operated in the harbor within plain view of the US military base and Navy ships disguised as "friendly and harmless" local fisherman.
For Major William Morgan there appears to be no doubt of his fate. If he died as a result of the air crash, he has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country if at all humanly possible. On the other hand, if he jumped from the helicopter prior to the impact, and was able to reach land or was picked up by an enemy boat in the congested harbor, his fate like that of many other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Indochina, could be quite different.
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fly and fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.